After reading reports about a rumored reboot of the U.S. version of “The Office” (2005-2013), I couldn’t help but think of the phrase uttered by the show’s legendary Michael Scott: “No, God! No, God, please no! No! No! Noooooooo!”
Don’t get me wrong. I love “The Office” and think it’s one of the greatest sitcoms ever created. The wacky scenarios, hilarious dialogue, and chemistry among the show’s cast leave you crying with laughter at every turn. Who could forget iconic episodes like “Women’s Appreciation,” in which Phyllis, the older, heavyset office saleswoman, gets flashed in the office parking lot?
Rather than console her, Michael (Steve Carell) laughs hysterically and performs a “physical” comedy routine to make light of the incident, prompting pushback from his underlings. After espousing misogynistic troupes about females during a subsequent office meeting, Michael decides to show that he “appreciates” women by treating the ladies of Dunder Mifflin to a day at the mall.
Episodes like these aren’t just funny because they push past the boundaries of what is considered to be “politically incorrect” or “offensive.” They’re hilarious because they humorize the more degrading aspects of humanity, and in a way that is so absurd and satirical you can’t help but snicker.
It’s exactly for these reasons that a reboot of “The Office” should never happen. The woke-scolds running modern-day Hollywood would never allow the kind of audacious writing that defined the original series to leave the writer’s room, let alone make it to the big screen. The possibility of “offending” leftist trolls occupying the dark corners of social media would be too great a risk for a studio like NBC to take on.
It’s a sad reality that Carell himself acknowledged during an interview several years ago. When asked by Esquire in 2018 about the potential for an “Office” reboot, Carell pondered whether viewers today would “accept it the way it was accepted ten years ago.”
“A lot of what is depicted on that show is completely wrong-minded. That’s the point, you know? But I just don’t know how that would fly now,” he said.
What’s more is that several major studios have already demonstrated their willingness to sacrifice “The Office’s” daring humor to appease America’s joyless left. Several years ago, Netflix and Peacock (NBC’s streaming service), removed a scene from a 2012 episode in which Dwight dawns blackface in “an attempt to celebrate an authentic Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas.” Comedy Central, which regularly airs re-runs of “The Office,” also removed the show’s “Diversity Day” episode from its chronological broadcast schedule.
If networks like NBC aren’t willing to stand by the humor that put “The Office” on the map, there’s no reason to believe they would be on board with a reboot pushing similar comedic boundaries. And that’s what comedy is supposed to be about.
It’s intended to be an arena with no safe spaces and no subject considered taboo. What we understand to be wrong becomes watered down with humor to the point where it suddenly becomes OK to laugh at. It’s because of that common understanding of right and wrong that humor is able to thrive. If we didn’t recognize it as wrong, it wouldn’t be funny.
“The Office” is one of the best sitcoms ever made. It doesn’t need to risk its legacy on a potentially woke reboot lacking the comedic elements that made it great.